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Nike Unveils New NFL Uniforms With Minor Changes To All But Seahawks Garb

Nike Unveils New NFL Uniforms With Minor Changes To All But Seahawks Garb

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Seahawks' new jersey features a bright green wing pattern on sleeve
Nike yesterday unveiled the new NFL uniforms at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, and “with the exception of the Seattle Seahawks, every team escaped the event sartorially unscathed,” according to Mike Tanier of the N.Y. TIMES. It was “hard to tell the difference between the new uniforms and the old ones.” However, not all of the redesign “is difficult to see,” as the Seahawks uniform “has undergone significant changes.” There is now “a bright green wing pattern on the sleeve, though it is not as striking or literal as the feathered wing designs that Nike came up with for the University of Oregon’s jerseys.” The Seahawks have “not quite become the Oregon Seaducks, but their new look may be the harbinger of things to come.” Tanier writes Nike is “unlikely to limit its fashion innovations to the trim on a single team’s uniform.” There are “already whispers of new color schemes and styles for 2013” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4). ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas wrote after “all the hype, Tuesday's much-anticipated unveiling event basically boiled down to this: a serious makeover for the Seahawks, and mostly more of the same for everyone else.” All of the other 31 teams “either look exactly the same or almost the same.” The biggest changes involve “the collars, many of which now feature Nike's Flywire design, which has been used for the past few seasons on the college level.” Almost “all of these changes involve the uniforms' physical design, not their graphic design.” The changes were not “more momentous” because a uniform outfitter like Nike “can't just walk in and make design changes without a team's permission.” Also, the NFL has rules “that keep a team from changing its uniform design more than once every five years” (ESPN.com, 4/3). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the goal of the redesign was to combine "tradition with innovation." Goodell: "Some teams will lean more toward the traditions. But you can see here you can put innovation into the uniform without changing the look, necessarily, about it" (AP, 4/3).

SEAHAWKS STAND OUT: In Seattle, Danny O’Neil reports no team "got an overhaul quite like Seattle's -- from the uniform's design to the two-toned helmet to the renovated logo with a gray stripe behind the bird's head.” The overhaul of the Seahawks' uniform was “extensive and went so far as to include a third, alternate jersey, which is gray.” Neon green is also incorporated “from the piping down the side of the pants, to the shoulders and collar.” The team's last uniform overhaul was ‘02, when the Seahawks “underwent a makeover before moving into their new outdoor stadium.” The Nike uniforms are “so different no one will mistake them for any other team” (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/4). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s John Kell notes the Seahawks’ uniform “incorporates cultural elements of the Northwest, including horizontal graphics representing the thunderbird totem and colors inspired by the region's environment.” On the pants, “12 winged icons down the side reference the 12th man, a tribute to the team's fans” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/4). A Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE poll found that 65% of fans “voted in favor” of the Seahawks’ new uniform. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman said, “I was pretty impressed. I like how innovative Nike is, creative with their designs. I think more teams should have switched it up and tried something new” (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 4/4). Packers TE Jermichael Finley said, “The Seahawks got some bangin' suits, and Nike did really well with them. I can't wait until everybody steps out with the new unis this year" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/3). NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus wrote it is “practically a personality change for the 36-year-old franchise.” The “sharp left turn perhaps makes sense when you remember the Seahawks are in the backyard of Nike, which is based in nearby Beaverton, Ore." (NFL.com, 4/3). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "Nike can’t change things like the Bears and the Giants and the Redskins; you can’t touch those. You’ve got to play around with new-fangled things like Seattle. They’re ‘dayglo’ but they’re alright” (“PTI,” ESPN, 4/3). Meanwhile, in Portland, Allan Brettman reports Oregon-based Hydro Graphics “produced the helmets for the Seahawks.” HGI Owner Chris Thom said that his company “was prepared to do anything radical that the team desired ... but the team opted for a more muted approach” (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/4).

Broncos switching to orange for their primary
home jersey color

MORE JERSEY NOTES: The colors and number font “don't change in the updated Bears uniform, but some of the striping, fabric and fit do change in Nike's design.” Uniform numbers “move from the sleeves to the shoulders.” The sleeves add “an extra orange-and-white stripe and feature a more prominent ‘GSH’ tribute to founder George S. Halas” (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 4/3). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler notes the Panthers’ jersey features “one significant change -- the addition of the words ‘Keep Pounding,’ which are sewn into the jersey near the collar where the tag is.” Putting those words into the jersey was “a brilliant idea and means that the legacy of the late Sam Mills will be woven into every Panther jersey from now on” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/4). In Detroit, Carlos Monarrez notes the “biggest change in the Lions’ uniform is that their silver pants are less shiny than they were under Reebok’s design.” Other teams with “metallic-toned pants, such as Dallas, New Orleans and San Francisco, also will have a more matte look because of the new lightweight fabric” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/4). The Rams' biggest change is that the "gold pants are no more” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/4). In N.Y., Paul Schwartz notes the Giants previously have “worn their five-stripe gray pants on the road and three-stripe gray pants at home, but this season they are going with the five-stripe grays for home and away games” (N.Y. POST, 4/4). The Broncos have “gone away from the navy jerseys of recent seasons and switched to orange as its primary home jersey, reminiscent of the Orange Crush years” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/4). Meanwhile, SPORTING NEWS’ Clifton Brown reported “every team's cleats will look substantially different -- color-coordinated to match the uniform instead of being predominantly black or white” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/3). Texans Equipment Dir Jay Brunetti said, “They aren’t required to change -- we’re still a white-shoe-based team -- but now they’ll have the option of wearing the navy and red shoes. The idea was to provide a more uniform look from head to toe” (CHRON.com, 4/3).

IT’S WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS: USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy writes the new uniforms “focus on lighter fabrics, more contoured fits and four-way stretch materials on the inside rather than big design changes on the outside.” Nike President & CEO Mark Parker said that the uniforms “were 20% to 30% lighter than the Reebok versions players wore last season.” There is also “padding built into parts of the jerseys and pants.” Giants WR Victor Cruz said that the “more form-fitting uniforms should help him better elude tacklers” (USA TODAY, 4/4). Bills S George Wilson said, "I love them. ... The materials used, the innovations from Nike, from the changes in the collar where the jersey won't rise up and down on you like the old ones used to. It’s more fitted in the shoulders which gives you a lot more range of motion and a lot less restrictive than the past uniforms. Then there’s a ventilation system that runs through the side of the jersey all the way to the pants and even in your base layer you wear underneath your uniform. You can see that Nike has been putting a lot of time, a lot of effort into these uniforms the past five years" ("NBC Sports Talk," NBC Sports Network, 4/3). Seattle S Kam Chancellor said that he “loves the new designs, but enjoys the cut and fit even better.” Chancellor: "The shrink-wrap fit, we can move our body around. We can move and be free." Bears LB Brian Urlacher said it will be "harder to get held, which is good since I get held on every play" (SI.com, 4/3). Patriots WR Wes Welker said, “Being able to move my arms a little better, there is not as much tightness, a little more flexibility as far as that goes” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/4). Urlacher, a Nike endorser, said, “I love the sideline gear. I didn’t like Reebok’s. It’s nice to wear stuff that looks good” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/4).

PLAYER PERSUASION: While football purists “may be breathing sighs of relief that most jerseys did not undergo significant change, the same cannot be said for some of the players.” Buccaneers RB LeGarrette Blount, a Univ. of Oregon alum and Nike endorser, said, "Make it Oregon Duck-like. They're always updating, always above and beyond everybody with the fashion statement. (The Tampa Bay uniforms should have) some 'highlighter red' or something. Some glow-in-the-dark red or something. We've got one of the youngest teams in the NFL, so we gotta be trendy." Finley said, "The Packers don't change things too often. But as a player, I'd love to see it" (Alan Brettman, Portland OREGONIAN, 4/4). Click a thumbnail below to view a slideshow of the uniforms.

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